Fragile Items And Your Luggage

by : Victor Epand

It sometimes almost seems like a conspiracy. You go on holiday and find the most perfect little souvenir, at just the right price. Having patted yourself on the back for finding such a suitable gift, you then spend the rest of your holiday, and all of your return journey, frightened for its safety. It seems almost to have grown extra bits that stick out at odd angles and are constantly in danger of being broken off. Is it just me, or does it seem that gift shop owners deliberately provide such gifts to the gullible public?

So, how is it possible to protect such priceless artefacts when faced with baggage handlers, airports and the general chaos of travelling home? The first and most obvious suggestion would be, of course, not to buy such delicate items in the first place. Being sensible about what gifts you buy, including their durability, will save you a lot of effort and trouble and worry later on. However, perhaps you found that there were no real alternatives, and your bone china model tree with a hundred fragile branches that didn't come with a box was the only item worth bringing home with you.

The solutions become much easier if you did not over pack your luggage in the first place. It is always surprising how many people entirely forget to leave room in their case for gifts at the end of their trip, and happily bounce up and down on their luggage at home to force it shut, with no contemplation whatever about how they will achieve the same trick with a few china dolls or papier mache models in the case two weeks later.

One very good suggestion is to pack some of your items on the outward journey in plastic boxes. The kind you use in the fridge for storing food are perfect. It doesn't really matter what you put in the boxes on the outward journey, but these boxes will come in extremely handy when you need to protect delicate souvenirs.

In order to protect the items in the boxes against knocks, try wrapping them in soft material, such as socks. Making sure the item is well padded to prevent movement or rattling, and then sealing it into a plastic box will improve considerably its chances of survival.

Bear in mind, also, where you place this box in your case. Obviously placing it at the outside edges increases the chance of it being the first item to be knocked if the bag is dropped or stacked. Instead, pack the box into the very centre of your case, so that it is cushioned by all of your other clothes and items.

In the case of one or two smaller gifts, it may be possible to put them in pockets, or in carryon bags. Again, however, these will still benefit from protection, and using padding, or boxes, or both, will improve the survival rate much more. It is also advisable to divide your souvenirs between more than one bag. In case one of your bags experiences a particularly nasty knock, and the delicate items inside are damaged, at least you will still have a good chance that items in other bags faired better.